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Influencing the Influencer: Marketing Best Practices and Tactics That Reach the Entire Software Buying Team

Influencing the Influencer: Marketing Best Practices and Tactics That Reach the Entire Software Buying Team

Typically, marketers and sellers focus most of their efforts on targeting and nurturing the relationships with the true decision makers and purchasers for their solution. While that makes sense, doing so leaves an entire group of purchase influencers disengaged.

There are key players throughout the entire software buying team with varying degrees of influence over purchasing decisions. To keep those influencers engaged with your solution, there are developer marketing tactics to not only increase your brand awareness within the team but also make them more likely to suggest your solution over your competitors.

These tactics and methods include content marketing, developer-centric events and advocacy programs, technical documentation, and open source contributions. Your goal here is to capitalize on the attention of the entire software buying team and build trust.

Understanding the Software Buying Team

To decide which marketing strategy is most effective for reaching the software buying team, first you have to understand exactly who they are and what their role is in influencing the decision making process. 

In DZone’s 2023 community survey, only 8% of the respondents accredited themselves as being a direct technology purchaser. Whereas 57% self identified as having significant influence and 18% as having some influence. If you were to only prioritize marketing towards those direct purchasers, you’re leaving 75% of influencers disengaged.

While some buyers might make major purchase decisions entirely alone, most do it in part of a committee, or at the very least weigh in the opinions of their team members. As marketers, it’s crucial to take into account the internal collaboration that goes into making an investment in software. 

Directors, VPs, and managers might have the same responsibilities and buying power depending on your specific industry or company. Because of this, job titles also shouldn’t be considered the end-all be-all. Other influencers in the software buying team might be developers, team leads, business analysts and managers, operation admins, engineers, and architects. 

After you label all the key players, the next step is to understand their individual degrees of influence. Consider their team demographics, firmographics, and overall behavioral data. This can be factors like their tenure at the company, geographic location, their company size and organizational structure that help determine how much influence they have. 

5 Best Developer Marketing Tactics

Once you have this familiarity of the team, then you can begin strategizing how you’ll reach out and what kind of tactic is most effective to get their buy-in with your solution. However you choose to market towards these influencers, make sure that you’re providing true value that is relevant to their industry, company, and individual job scope. These are busy team members who will appreciate your effort towards efficiency.

According to DZone’s 2023 community survey, the top three preferred methods for professional development are online communities, blog posts, and videos. And when they’re considering new technologies to add to their tech stack, 51% opt into free trials and 53% consult developer communities. Because of this, you know these influencers like to learn about a software, getting hands on experience, and then the opportunity to discuss it with peers.

Content Marketing

Create and share branded content that relates directly to the individual’s role. Sending targeted content like an industry report will increase their knowledge about your solution and make them confident when it’s time to make a purchase. This can be blogs, videos, case studies, or video tutorials. Consider the recipient’s role when deciding what kind of content to share. A developer team lead would appreciate a video tutorial to share with their team over a dense whitepaper that the decision maker might prefer. 

Developer-Centric Events

Developer-centric events are hosted virtual or in person events that cater specifically to those in developer or engineering roles. They can be hackathons and coding competitions, or developer conferences and meetups. The purpose of these sponsored events is to create an engaging space for developers to pursue their individual professional development while also placing your brand or solution at the event’s center for awareness. 

Developer Advocacy Programs

Developer advocacy programs are opportunities for software engineers and developers to understand and evaluate your solution. An example is establishing a developer feedback channel. These are programs sponsored by your company for the actual users of your solution to become familiar with it and offer user feedback. These programs connect you directly with influential developers and lay the foundation for a healthy professional relationship. 

Technical Documentation & APIs

Consider sharing technical documentation and APIs that you’d deem relevant to your software buying team members. This includes comprehensive and accessible documentation or APIs for customization and integration features. The goal of this tactic is to not weigh down the influencers with hyper technical jargon that isn’t directly related to their day-to-day, but instead show them you’re a reliable and educated resource. 

Open Source Contributions

Open source contributions are when you directly interact or support a live project for the buying team. This can be your brand contributing to open source projects that the team is currently running and you giving them limited or full access to your solution for a duration of time. This developer marketing strategy is a way for you to showcase your industry expertise and software innovation. 

Top 3 Tips for Winning Over Decision-Makers

Now that you have an idea of potential tactics to help market towards developers and the entire software buying team, there are some tips to make that process seamless and most effective. The below best practices help build that trust you’re after with the developers and help win over those top decision-makers at the same time. 

Align Developer-Focused Marketing With Business Goals

Take into account what the business goals of your target team is. This can be quarterly, yearly, or overarching goals. You’ll not only use this information in shaping how you’ll directly pitch your solution to the decision makers, but it’ll also help you identify the most appropriate marketing tactic. For example, a team with an overarching goal of growth might best respond to marketing that emphasizes the scalability of your solution.

Provide ROI Data & Metrics

Anyone, no matter their degree of influence over purchasing decisions, values transparency when it comes to data and metrics. Backing any claims you make with real data further builds onto your credibility and reliability as a potential partner. The use of data will help prove to the entire buying team the high return on investment (ROI) by translating your profitability value compared to the cost of your solution. 

Demonstrate Long-Term Benefits

For everyone on a software buying team to feel confident in advocating for your solution to the top decision maker, they’ll want to see the lasting value of the investment. You can do this by demonstrating the long-term benefits of your software. Show those influencers not only how your solution can benefit them in their day-to-day tasks, but how it’ll impact and improve their entire process.

Keeping these tips in mind when choosing and implementing the developer marketing tactics, not only solidifies your credibility as a provider, but also engages the full buying team with content and touchpoints that they consider appropriate and valuable.

Bottom Line: Influencing the Influencer

Content marketing, developer-centric events and advocacy programs, technical documentation, and open source contributions are surefire marketing tactics that will equally target those team members who aren’t directly involved in software purchases. This holistic approach to software buying and marketing ensures that your solution is top of mind and top of conversation amongst the entire team, and when it’s time for the developers to implement your solution, it’s familiar to them.

There is undoubtedly collaboration among the software buying team, and having their advocacy when it’s time to make a purchase is invaluable. Because of this, the most successful B2B marketers continue to prioritize influencers just as much as their key decision-makers in software buying.

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